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The EU takes the first step to impose sanctions on Nicaragua

September 25, 2019

BRUSSELS, Sep 25 (EUROPE PRESS) –

European governments have given 'green light' on Wednesday to the legal basis to impose sanctions on individuals in Nicaragua for the repression with which the Government of Daniel Ortega has responded to the protests in case the situation in the Central American country

As a diplomatic source has informed Europa Press, for now it is “an empty list”, but it is the first step towards the imposition of sanctions, a process that was already followed in due course with Venezuela. The decision must be formalized by the Council, foreseeably at its next meeting.

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Twenty-eight already threatened in January the Government of Daniel Ortega with exploring sanctions in case the situation in Nicaragua did not improve to try to resolve the crisis in the country.

In March, the plenary session of the Eurocamara also demanded that the EU impose sanctions against the Government of Ortega and those responsible for human rights violations in Nicaragua for repression against protesters.

MEPs called for “a phased process of specific and individual sanctions, such as the prohibition of issuance of visas and the immobilization of assets, against the Government of Nicaragua and those responsible for human rights violations” until Human Rights are fully respected and the fundamental freedoms in the country, as well as suspending Nicaragua from the Association and Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Central America, activating its democratic clause.

In their resolution, they justified the sanctions for increasing repression and restrictions on fundamental freedoms in the country, such as the right to free expression, assembly and demonstration, the illegalization of NGOs and the expulsion of international organizations from country, as well as the closure of media and harassment of journalists, the expulsion of university students and the worsening of the situation in prisons for political prisoners.

The crisis broke out in the country in April 2018 for protests against a controversial social security reform, which grew rapidly to demand the “democratization” of Nicaragua, in what has been the biggest challenge to Ortega in his fifteen years of government and what the president responded with a harsh repression.

The Sandinista leader finally offered a national dialogue that failed because of his refusal to call early elections. In February, the parties agreed to resume the talks and held the first meetings. However, in May the dialogue was suspended again for cross accusations of non-compliance.

The opposition Civic Alliance – now integrated in the Blue and White National Unit (UNAB) – had demanded that the Government fulfill its promise to release all political prisoners before June 18. The Government has released a dropper to some 200 under the modality of “house by jail”, that is, under a kind of house arrest.

According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), at least 325 have died and another 2,000 have been injured, while 700 more have been arrested and prosecuted. In addition, more than 70,000 people have been forced to flee Nicaragua since then, of which 55,500 have applied for international protection in Costa Rica.